Saturday, August 30, 2014

Consider Your Calling

Consider your own calling, brothers and sisters.
Not many of you were wise by human standards,
not many were powerful,
not many were of noble birth.
Rather, God chose the foolish of the world to shame the wise,
and God chose the weak of the world to shame the strong,
and God chose the lowly and despised of the world,
those who count for nothing,
to reduce to nothing those who are something,
so that no human being might boast before God.
It is due to him that you are in Christ Jesus,
who became for us wisdom from God,
as well as righteousness, sanctification, and redemption,
so that, as it is written,
Whoever boasts, should boast in the Lord.

-1 Cor 1:26-31

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Shrine Hosts Interfaith Service For Peace

Earlier this month, the Archdiocese of Washington sponsored an Interfaith Service for Peace at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine

This isn’t the first time an inter-religious service for peace has been held in our building. The John Paul II Cultural Center hosted Pope Benedict XVI and nearly 200 representatives of Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Judaism in 2008 for a meeting to promote interfaith dialogue.

St. John Paul II was especially committed to fostering peace throughout the world, so the Shrine was a perfect spot for the service. For photos and more, see our website

Our Lady, Queen of Peace, Pray for Us! 

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

In Defense Of The Cross

In an article published by Columbia Magazine this past spring, Krzysztof Mazur wrote about the town of Nowa Huta, or “The New Steel Mill,” built by the communists in Poland after World War II. This was a town for workers, intended to make communism more attractive. Polish religiosity and culture were left out.

Catholic residents of Nowa Huta desperately wanted to build a church, but the authorities wouldn’t allow it. Town leaders eventually permitted believers to build a cross in the city square. This cross became the place of worship for the people there. Christians gathered at the cross for prayers, and Mass was said there on occasion. 

In 1960, four years after the cross was built, the authorities in Nowa Huta decided that it was time to take it down and build a school in its place. On April 27, workers and guards arrived in the city square to tear down the cross. As Mazur recounts, the people put up a fight:
A group of women saw what was happening and equipped themselves with shopping carts, brooms, bricks and bottles. A short time later, when a shift at the steel mill was let out, more than a thousand men started making their way toward the cross carrying shovels, pickaxes and other tools. In a spontaneous act of civil disobedience, 5,000 workers and citizens suddenly gathered in the square.
The protests came to a violent end, but the cross was allowed to remain in its place. Saint John Paul II, who was serving as an auxiliary bishop at the time, provided much religious support for people struggling in Nowa Huta. One way was by organizing midnight Masses under the cross each Christmas eve. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Send Laborers Into Your Vineyard

Holy Father, look upon this humanity of ours, that is taking its first steps along the path of the Third Millennium. Its life is still deeply marked by hatred, violence and oppression, but the thirst for justice, truth and grace still finds a space in the hearts of many people, who are waiting for someone to bring salvation, enacted by You through Your Son Jesus. There is the need for courageous heralds of the Gospel, for generous servants of suffering humanity.

Send holy priests to Your Church, we pray, who may sanctify Your people with the tools of Your grace.

Send numerous consecrated men and women, that they may show Your holiness in the midst of the world.

Send holy laborers into Your vineyard, that they may labor with the fervor of charity and, moved by Your Holy Spirit, may bring the salvation of Christ to the farthest ends of the Earth.

             -Saint John Paul II, 2001

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Tireless Missionary

We've written before about Saint John Paul II’s missionary spirit. During his pontificate, he embarked on 104 apostolic journeys to 129 different countries. 

His trip to Anchorage, Alaska is evidence of this commitment to “visit his people.” After his 1981 pilgrimage to Asia, the late Holy Father chose to refuel in the polar state. He said Mass there, and 50,000 Alaskans came out for the service. 

As Archbishop Francis T. Hurley welcomed John Paul II, he said: “No future Pope will travel farther from the Eternal City unless he chooses a space ship to the moon—a challenge which many feel would be tempting to Your Holiness” (George Weigel, Witness to Hope).

Saint John Paul II, please pray for us, that we may be like you in tirelessly serving as missionaries for the Church.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Mother of Mercy, Pray for Korea!

As Pope Francis ends his journey to Korea, we thought it would be good to reflect upon one of Saint John Paul II's visits to Korea, when he entrusted the country to the Blessed Mother. In his Act of Entrustment, he prayed:
Mother of all individuals and all peoples, you know all the pains and hopes of everyone. As Mother you know the struggle between light and darkness, good and evil, which is taking place in the world and within our own hearts. 
You bore Jesus, the Son of Man and the Son of God, in whom the people of Korea, in wondrous joy, but also through much suffering, have found "the way, the truth, and the life."
O Mother of mercy, we now entrust to your loving heart the entire people and the Church of this land. Keep us from all injustice, division, violence, and war.
Keep us from temptation and from the bondage of sin and evil.
Be with us! Help us to overcome doubt with belief, selfishness with service, pride with meekness, hatred with love. Help us to live the Gospel with the "foolishness" of the Cross, bearing witness to Jesus who died on it, so that we may rise with your Son unto true life with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit.
O Mother of Christ, comfort and give strength to all those who suffer: the poor, the lonely, the sick, the unloved, the downtrodden, the forgotten.
Bless us! Pray for us, together with Saint Joseph, and unite us all in love. Give peace to our divided land, and the light of hope to all. Show us the blessed fruit of thy womb, Jesus! Amen.
Let us keep asking the Blessed Mother to pray for Korea, and for peace throughout the world. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

A Consoling Sign Of Our Hope

Christ's definitive victory over death, which came into the world because of Adam's sin, shines out in Mary, assumed into Heaven at the end of her earthly life. It was Christ, the "new" Adam, who conquered death, offering himself as a sacrifice on Calvary in loving obedience to the Father. In this way he redeemed us from the slavery of sin and evil. In the Virgin's triumph, the Church contemplates her whom the Father chose as the true Mother of his Only-begotten Son, closely associating her with the salvific plan of the Redemption.
This is why Mary, as the liturgy points out, is a consoling sign of our hope. In looking to her, carried up amid the rejoicing of the angelic hosts, the whole of human life, marked by lights and shadows, is opened to the perspective of eternal happiness. If our experience of daily life allows us to feel tangibly that our earthly pilgrimage is under the sign of uncertainty and strife, the Virgin assumed into heavenly glory assures us that we will never lack divine help. 
-Saint John Paul II, Solemnity of the Assumption 2001 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Our New Video!

As we continue to prepare for the opening of our permanent exhibit on the life and legacy of Saint John Paul II, we invite you to watch our new promotional video for the Saint John Paul II National Shrine. The two-minute clip on our homepage holds just a taste of exciting things to come this fall!

St. John Paul II, Pray for Us!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

A Sign Of The Presence Of God

Our tour hit Orlando this past weekend, where Saint John Paul II’s relic was venerated at the 132nd Knights of Columbus Supreme Convention and at the Basilica of the National Shrine of Mary, Queen of the Universe.

Msgr. Slawomir Oder, postulator for the cause of canonization of St. John Paul II, spoke at the convention’s prayer service before the relic. He said:

Saints are the sure sign of the presence of God in history! Saints are the most beautiful thing the Lord wants to say to us about Himself!

We can find in the book of the life of St. John Paul II the sure road which leads, through faith, humility, prayer, and love of neighbor, to full communion with God.

Oh blessed Saint John Paul II, pray for us this day, that we may also follow this sure road that leads to full communion with God!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Take Up Your Cross And Follow Me

Jesus said to his disciples,
“Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself,
take up his cross, and follow me.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.
What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world
and forfeit his life?
Or what can one give in exchange for his life?
For the Son of Man will come with his angels in his Father’s glory,
and then he will repay each according to his conduct.
Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here
who will not taste death
until they see the Son of Man coming in his Kingdom.”

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Gigantic Task

Yours is the gigantic task of overcoming all evil with good, always trying amidst the problems of life to place your trust in God, knowing that his grace supplies strength to human weakness. You must oppose every form of hatred with the invincible power of Christ’s love.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Papal Intentions For August

This month, Pope Francis asks us to pray that “refugees, forced by violence to abandon their homes, may find a generous welcome and the protection of their rights.” He also asks that we pray for Christians in Oceania, that they “may joyfully announce the faith to all the people of that region.”

Let us pray with the Holy Father this month, for refugees throughout the world and for evangelization in Oceania.